Steamboat Springs The editorial staff of this newspaper demonstrated an amazing lack of community responsibility by recommending a "no" vote on one tax issue that addressed the deteriorating infrastructure of our community (roads) and then turning around and supporting a "yes" on a frills-packed, taxpayer-supported "fun palace" (recreation center).
The Citizens for a Community Recreation Center and the Editorial Board of this newspaper state that there are some important needs in this community. Their list includes an indoor leisure pool, indoor playground, office space, diving well (how many of you will actually use a diving well?) a "Lazy River," (whatever that is), and a lot more warm and fuzzy amenities that we taxpayers are expected to pay for.
While attending several candidates forums recently, I heard the candidates and citizens of this community discuss police, fire, roads, traffic, water, schools and development. I did not hear one concern about a warm leisure pool.
In a letter in last Sunday's edition, a teenager wrote that "we should act as responsible, educated adults and give them what they as teens deserve." As an educated adult, who will be saddled with paying the property tax for the next 20 years, I must point out that the laws of the state of Colorado say that what you deserve is a "free and appropriate public education." That is the only thing our tax dollars entitle you to. There is nothing in there about a rec center just to make you happy. Being happy is up to you and your parents, not the taxpayer.
We have been barraged with how important all of the teen amenities in this center are. Well, contrary to the belief of some, in the overall scheme of life, swim teams, soccer, diving wells, warm leisure pools and all of the other select amenities in this proposed recreation center will not be what produces a hard-working, productive, responsible adult. Responsible parenting, along with proper discipline and the free and appropriate education we taxpayers provide are what will really help them make it in the modern, globalized economy they will be facing in the working world as adults.
Another amenity this rec center is going to have at our expense is drop-in child care. Now remember, this is for people who are spending a lot of disposable income on fancy mailers and newspaper ads and are willing to spend $600 a year to be members. I have seen no mention of help for low-income families who might really need drop-in child care. When has it become the taxpayers' duty to provide child care and children's facilities so mothers juggling a Starbucks in one hand and a cell phone in another while driving their oversized SUV can drop their kids off to be entertained at taxpayers' expense?
This proposed recreation center is the epitome of the entitlement and "me" attitude that is doing far more harm to upcoming generations than a lack of swim lanes and play areas. I have no doubt I have just made some of you very angry. But I know there are a lot of people out there who are glad someone finally took off the kid gloves and said it like it really is. We are angry, too. The difference in membership fees for those who live outside of the city limits does not come close to making up the disparity for those who own property within the city limits and will be paying for this $66 million project for the next 20 years. This 67,000-square-foot Taj Mahal is not what our community needs.